Today’s short blog will be more story time than teaching like I usually do.
Since November, my wife and I have been planning a move north. It’s been a dream of ours for years to pick up and leave Florida. Why? You gasp. Why would you want to leave the white sandy beaches and year-round sun? Well, the short and simple answer is this: we like seasons and want to experience the northern culture.
We started with prayer
If you are anything like us, you won’t be surprised that we began immediately praying and making sure our hearts were aligned with his. Our prayers were anxious ones at first because this move, this big idea to pick up and go, is something we have tried twice before. We only have bad memories of telling everyone we are moving and then ending up in the same place and and doing the same thing.
We felt a shift in the spirit though. We felt God’s wind behind all of this. So we told people we were going, I interviewed for a job, which I turned down eventually because it wasn’t right for us, and put our house up for sale. Our house sold about a month or so after we put it on the market and we got a great price on it.
We’ve been living in a vacation rental near the beach for the last six weeks and we’ve been waiting on two more final steps we needed in order to move north. Those things didn’t happen within the timeframe we needed. Over the last week my wife and I decided to do something crazy–we decided to stop asking God for what we needed. He knows I need a job to support my family, we need a house to live in, and we need support from a few important people in our lives in order to make the move successful and not a curse.
Why did we stop asking God for our needs?
The Bible is pretty clear on prayer. Philippians 4:6-7 says this, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV).”
The JB Phillips translates Colossians 4:2 like this, “ Always maintain the habit of prayer: be both alert and thankful as you pray.”
Romans 12:12 encourages believers to be faithful in prayer.
So why would we stop asking God for our needs?
The simple answer: He told me to.
(In grouchy preacher voice) But God doesn’t go against his word!
He doesn’t go against his word. But I was going against it.
Check this out
There are only a few scriptures above that I’ve referenced. There are many, many more in the Bible that pertain to prayer. But here is what I noticed about a lot of them. There is a word that I tended to always skip over. Here’s the word: THANKSGIVING.
Philippians 4:7 “, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God….”
Here’s Colossians 4:2 “Always maintain the habit of prayer: be both alert and thankful as you pray.”
God began speaking to me on my drive home one day about not showing up to him with anxiety in my heart, but showing up with a thankful heart. He’s my good daddy, my zealous lover, my beloved. He knows the things I need. He knows my every desire. I really felt the wind of the spirit behind this and committed to 7 days without requesting for a single thing. Instead, I began to thank God for everything that was going on, for all the things I did have, for all the hope I have for God’s ability to work out this desire to move away and pursue greater things.
Here’s the result: God began moving things around. All in one week, my wife’s art business began to explode. She suddenly gained the confidence to embrace the business of selling her art to the world. I heard about a great business opportunity with friends that could garner me the ability to work at home, be location independent, and have time with my kids. Some things at work changed and I may be teaching in a different way next year.
My wife and I got a vision for being dual citizens for a time. Although we have always wanted to move north, we have a vibrant community in Florida. We got a whole plan, downloaded in mach speed, at how to live in both Florida and Pennsylvania.
All this happened in a matter of a week after weeks and weeks of praying.
Now, God isn’t a formula, but our method of praying and petitioning wasn’t working, so we applied a new way: don’t ask, be thankful, and the equation equaled success!
We start looking for houses in Florida Saturday and we can start looking for houses in PA in the fall.
My job situation is looking good in Florida.
The potential to work online is also good, so then I can be independent of my location.
When we are thankful and choose to just rest in God’s goodness and praise Him without asking for anything, we find that God is able to move more in our lives because we have gotten out of the way with our asking.
We would never approach our earthly fathers with only requests for things we need. Our earthly fathers want to know that we appreciate and love them.
God’s not an egomaniac who needs to be praised, but He does understand love–since he is Love.
So, I encourage you to approach God with thanksgiving and present your requests to him and know that He is going to give you the desire of your heart (Psalm 37:4). It may not always look just like what you think it’s going to look like, but it’ll be good and that I’m 100% sure about. God is always good and only gives good to those who love him (Romans 8:28).